During the pandemic, the staff at this Highland GP service not only delivered COVID-19 vaccines with minimum waste but went above and beyond to support people in the area.
They set up a free community larder to help patients and residents who had seen income reduced or lost their jobs.
Staff checked on vulnerable patients to ensure they had food and medicine, as well as making sure they had access to free lateral flow tests. Once restrictions had eased, the surgery staff also tackled issues of isolation and loneliness by putting on an afternoon tea dance for the over 60s and a dance for all ages, which raised money for Ukraine.
Practice Manager and Nurse Practitioner Angela McKell said: “We have a lot of hotel staff living in hostels in the area and many of them lost their jobs when everything shut down. We made sure they had access to food from a community larder run by young volunteers, and cooking equipment such as microwaves. “We also supported isolated older people. Our dances were a huge success as it got everyone out and meeting each other. It was such a success we plan on having more.”
Project Coordinator – Condom Distribution Schemes
When the pandemic struck it became harder to access free condoms, so Carol Rattray set up a system posting them to people’s homes.
There were closures or limited access to sexual health centres, addiction centres, pharmacies and community and youth venues where people usually collected condoms. Carol was aware that young people are the most affected by sexually transmitted infections and with the sudden service disruption, the risk of people contracting an infection or having an unintended pregnancy was likely to increase.
She was also acutely aware of health inequalities and the cost of buying condoms, particularly during the pandemic when many were losing their jobs.
“I knew those from more deprived areas would be hit the hardest, so I was keen to see that everyone who needed them could get access to condoms,” said Carol. She worked with organisations such as food banks and charities who were delivering hot meals to people’s doors to provide free condoms, and she made sure they were available to students during Freshers’ Week. Carol also used social media in a fun way to get the safe sex message across – a seven-week campaign that saw around 1,500 people ask for condoms. The postal service is now permanent.
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Gynaecology Oncology, Beatson Cancer Centre
NHS Greater Glasgow
Carolyn has been nominated for her decades of continuous hard work, dedication and going the extra mile for patients in her care.
She has a busy practice and heavy workload but regularly stays late in the evening providing clinical and emotional support to patients with ovarian cancer.
During the COVID-19 pandemic she spent long periods of time living on her own, spending many months away from her family to whom she is very close. Carolyn put herself forward to offer support to Beatson to do whatever she could to help patients through the pandemic.
This year she has also sacrificed her own time to complete the four-month non-medical prescribing course – a big commitment while working full time.
One of her patients said: “From our first meeting in the clinic to our many telephone conversations she has been amazing. So helpful, so caring, and unfailingly upbeat. There has been laughter, a tear or two, a lot of support and knowledge, and always patient, always pleasant. A special lady.” Carolyn said: “Lots of people in the team deserve this award as everyone works so hard. It’s an honour and I’m delighted.”
Community Independent Living Services (CILS) Dundee
Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership
Vulnerable elderly people are helped to stay in their own homes by this partnership between the local authority and the NHS.
The 10-strong leadership team oversees 80 dedicated staff who go above and beyond in their care and assistance of fragile older people. The service is made up of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation therapy, a falls team, equipment store staff, an independent living officer and an independent living review team, who review packages of care.
The CILS teams work together to meet people’s needs and support them to live independently in their own home. They deliver an integrated service, often battling with IT systems that are not integrated.
During the pandemic, when many services were limited or stopped, the CILS teams carried on working to ensure elderly people’s needs were met. They went beyond their normal service by checking those discharged from hospital had food and their prescriptions, as families, friends and volunteer services were in lockdown.
Health Care Support Worker, Care of the Older Person, Cameron Hospital
During the pandemic Gemma carried out her own role while supporting patients with extra activities and outdoor fun.
Her outgoing personality and wish to make the patients happy ensured their mental wellbeing, which is so important during hospital stays, particularly during the pandemic.
Gemma took the pressure off staff by giving each patient individual attention and coming in voluntarily after she’d carried out her essential caring duties.
She provided activities such as crosswords, nail painting, washing and setting hair, reminiscence, sing-a-longs, group activities, chair football, craft work and bingo.
Gemma made hats for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and organised an outside garden party, with flags and tables set with treats.
She made sure patients were stimulated with interests and hobbies and felt safe and cared for during three ward closures.
Senior charge nurse Lynne Christie said: “Gemma always shows compassion and genuinely cares for the patient's wellbeing. Smiles and chat from the patients showed just what a difference Gemma made to their hospital stay.”
Virtual Ward Team - Western Isles Hospital at Home
NHS Western Isles
A virtual hospital ward has been set up in the Western Isles where patients can be treated in their own homes with daily nurse visits.
The ward helped ease the pressure on the small local hospital in Stornoway caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, sparing patients the stress and inconvenience of travelling from remote parts of the islands for hospital appointments, as it can take around three hours to go from one end of the archipelago to the other.
The nurse-led service with a capacity to treat six to nine patients in their homes in ‘virtual beds’ is now being replicated on the mainland.
Dr David Rigby, Realistic Medicine lead for NHS Western Isles, said: “We needed to meet the demands of a small community with a limited workforce juggling with the issues of the pandemic. Our holistic service can deliver hospital-level care in the patient’s home.”
The service has continued and been expanded post-pandemic with a team of three nurses on a seven-day rota administering drugs and tests, and using iPads and smart phones to send images and videos to the hospital.